10 Step Guide to the Custom Modular Building Process
Go from an open site to a beautiful and fully functioning custom facility within months! Expedited construction is the reality of custom modular buildings. Understanding the steps laid out below will help you know what to expect along the way.
The Custom Modular Building Process in Detail
There are ten steps in the custom modular building process:
- Identify Property
- Formal Proposal (Pricing & Project Scope)
- Site Preparation
1. Identify Property
The site selected for the modular building is very important because it will have a direct impact on many other components of the process. When deciding on a property it is important to consider the grade (slope) and soil compaction. You will want to take into account site accessibility in addition to proximity to water, sewer, utilities, and existing structures. Each of these considerations could have significant bearing on the cost of your project and many of them can be controlled in advance by selecting the right piece of property and site for the building. Furthermore, you will want to have a clear understanding of the municipality or local governing body and how easy or difficult they are to work with, because the permitting process and periodic project inspections will impact the project schedule, in some cases substantially.
Traditionally those looking to construct a custom permanent building might start out by contracting with an architect to design their facility. The growing trend is for project owners to contact and partner directly with a modular building dealer that has the ability to perform a complete design-build project. Either route you decide to take will generally result in a high quality modular building you can be proud of and that provides all the space needed. Custom modular buildings give you the opportunity to specify the exact layout you need as well as select almost any exterior and interior finishes you desire. Custom modular buildings are built to meet all applicable state and local codes and can be tailored to meet the highest energy standards you desire.
3. Formal Proposal
The formal proposal allows clients to see everything together before executing a contract. A typical proposal may include:
- Delineation of responsibilities (what work is being done and who is doing it)
- Pricing (a base price may be given with options broken out for a-la-cart selection)
- Project schedule
- Clarifications (defines anything ambiguous or not otherwise mentioned in the proposal)
- Exclusions (so that you know what is not being included)
- Floor plan and building specifications
In most cases permits are obtained by the customer but can be secured by the modular dealer, typically for an additional fee. This part of the process is where things may get bogged down. It is important to find out what the local officials require as early in the overall process as possible because the actual approval of the permit application can take significant time. Timing of the approval often depends on where your building will be located.
There are as many different forms of contracts as there are designs for modular buildings. Typically, the form of contract is determined by the size and scope of the custom modular building project. Most often the billing for the project is done either based on milestone achievements or by monthly percentage of project completion.
The approved design is provided to and executed by a modular building manufacturer. Each module of the building is fabricated in a safe and efficient weather protected assembly plant. The entire fabrication process is overseen by the modular building dealer with whom you, as the project owner, have contracted.
7. Site Preparation
While the modular building is being manufactured at the off site plant, site crews work to prepare the site for the building in time for its delivery. At a minimum, site preparation includes excavation for foundations and their subsequent installation. Utilities, water management systems, walkways, water and sewer are all items that may be included in site preparation, depending on the size and scope of the project.
Modular building units are typically delivered in a predetermined order so that installation is efficient and there is limited staging space required for units not ready to be installed on the foundation. The individual custom modular units are transported from the manufacturing facility by trucks specially designed to tow them. The trucks pulling the modules often have to be accompanied by escorts because of the size of the units.
As the modules arrive on site, they are staged to be set on the completed foundation system. The custom modular units are meticulously placed on the foundation one at a time, next to each other, so they line up exactly. During fabrication the walls, ceilings, electrical, data, plumbing, and HVAC systems are all installed so that they line up correctly with the modules on either side. During installation the connections are completed at each mate line, which is the place where the modules meet up. The units are then seamed, which involves adding the exterior facade and weather proofing material at the mate lines and the interior floor and wall finishes. Upon completion of the installation, external connections are made with utilities, water, sewer, alarm systems, and data lines as applicable.
A certificate of occupancy is issued by the local authorities after all the appropriate inspections have been completed and the inspectors have signed off on the required documentation.
It is important to recognize that modular buildings are not all created equal. There are temporary buildings that are specifically designed for relocation and there are permanent modular buildings manufactured to fit together into a single seamless building for long-term use. Some modular buildings are wood frame structures, while others are constructed with steel and concrete. Our experienced team of experts is ready to help you select the type of building best suited for your important project.
For more information on custom modular buildings, call us today at 877-438-8627 or view more from our blog.